Thursday, February 16, 2012

Event Attendance: The 24th Annual Eugene Record Convention - February 12, 2012 (Part Two)

One new thing they had at the Convention this year was a dude standing next to the entrance, armed with a mic plugged into a guitar amp. If you were looking for something in particular, you could go up, tell him what you were looking for, and he'd hop on the makeshift PA and put the word out. If a dealer had what you wanted, they'd raise their hand (or start jumping around like a five-year-old because they're all incredibly socially awkward) and you could go over and take a look.

At one point the guy got on the mic and said "We're looking for anything by the Black Eyed Peas. Does anyone have any Black Eyed Peas records?" I didn't follow up, but I'm assuming the person who was asking got beaten severely and left for dead under a pile of VG- Neil Sedaka LPs.

Here's the rest of the stuff I picked up:

The Beatles - Beatles VI (1965)

I'm slowly working toward getting sweet copies of all The Beatles' LPs, and this was another step in getting that taken care of. I've kind of been going in order starting at the beginning, and chronologically I should have picked up The Beatles' Story next (we're talking American chronology here), but I couldn't pass up this one. It's mono, an original press, and other than some slight splitting on the seam, it's in incredible shape. Best of all, the price was incredibly reasonable. In fact, judging from recent completed eBay auctions, I got a really great deal on this. Very excited. Capitol rainbow label, and it has the "(See label for correct playing order)" print on the back, which I think means something good.

Prince - "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man" 12" (1987)

I've already got the standard 12" version of this, as well as the original 7" (which I bought when it came out in '87 - yeah, that's right), but it's one of my all-time favorite Prince songs, so I couldn't pass up the picture disc. There didn't end up being anything on here that I didn't already have - it includes the album version of the title track, and an "Edit" and "Extended Remix" of "Hot Thing," which are both on the regular 12" - but I'd never seen this in a non-eBay setting, so I knew I'd regret it if I didn't get it. I felt like it was a little bit overpriced, but it wasn't ridiculous. And my wife loves it, which doesn't hurt. Prince is one thing we can both agree on when it comes to music.

M.I.A. - Arular (2005)

Speaking of music that both the wife and I can agree on... This was one of those I've-been-listening-to-a-"free"-version-of-this-for-years-and-now-it's-time-for-me-to-buy-it sort of situations, though it's not like she's seeing any of the money from it, so I'm still not sure I did the right thing. Either way, I've got her other two records on wax, so it was time to complete the trifecta. And complete it I did. Got this double LP for a really nice price, and it ended up being a solid surprise. Not really the sort of record you can count on finding at an event like that.

Happy Mondays - Live (1991)

I never would have sought this record out online or made any serious effort to get it, but when I saw it for six bucks on the table of a dude who mostly sells classic rock stuff, I was both surprised and left with no option but to buy the shit out of it. 75 minutes of the Mondays, live in 1991, on a gatefold double LP, and the last track is an insane, rambling, 12-minute take on "Wrote for Luck." I'm feeling good about this one. Am I going to listen to it on repeat for the next two weeks? Probably not. But there will be a time and a place for this record, and when I find it it will get some serious play. If that makes sense.

The Doors - 2 Originals of the Doors (1973)

How wild is this thing? Such a weird record. This is a double LP, released in Germany, that contains The Doors' first two studio records - their self-titled debut and Strange Days. It's a gatefold, and when you open it up, the inside art is just the cover of those two records. (You can see some pictures on Discogs here.) Did I buy this solely for aesthetic purposes? Yes I did. Is that album cover one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time? Absolutely. So, I had to get it. Apparently there is a small series of these things, and they all have sweet artwork like this. Check out the Mothers of Invention one. I would like to have that.

Company Flow - Funcrusher Plus (1997)

I'm more in touch with El-P's solo stuff than I am with Company Flow (I somehow missed that boat when it came sailing through - I must have been dicking around to OK Computer), but I've been meaning to remedy that, so when I saw this I figured I should give it a go. It's a 2009 repress, but I don't think it's any different than the original. In fact, it ended up being even better, because the download card was still inside of it, and apparently no one had used it, because I got all sorts of redemptive on that thing. And that's a good feeling. In fact, the downloadable version even came with some extra songs. Whaddya thing about that, society?

Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak (1976)

I'm only an occasional Thin Lizzy listener, but when I'm in the mood for it, it's nice to have around. Not sure why I never bought a copy of this before, though it might be because you don't really see them all that often, and it's not like I'm looking to shell out 30 bucks for some thick-vinyled reissue. It's all real-deal, baby. This is the record that has "Cowboy Song" on it, which I've been listening to the Supersuckers play for over a decade. It's been kind of nice to hear the original version. It's much more nuanced. Plus, this record has one of the sweetest covers ever. Apparently there's a die-cut version where the gray-and-black stuff opens up to reveal more of the color drawing or something, but mine ain't that one. That would be cool to have, but I think I'll live.

So, that's it for the records. I also picked up a three-song Steel Pole Bath Tub VHS that I have yet to watch, along with three 90's-era Supersuckers bootleg DVDs that have been consuming my late nights for the past three days. They are grainy, shaky, and completely fascinating. I'm going to get back to them right now.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Event Attendance: The 24th Annual Eugene Record Convention - February 12, 2012 (Part One)

It's an annual tradition at this point. This was my third year in a row attending the Eugene Record Convention (see my 2010 report here, and my two-part 2011 wrap-up here and here), and though I came away feeling like it might not have been my most successful record-show experience, once I got home and surveyed my haul I felt a lot better. I got some cool stuff.

The show was pretty much the same as it's been the last two years: there were a lot of the same dealers at a lot of the same tables, and I even saw some familiar faces wandering around and digging through the goods. In a way, it's nice to know what you're getting into. I've found a few dealers who I know I've purchased a bunch of stuff from in the past (at this show and the Night Owl shows in Portland - these dudes get around), so I usually hit those tables first if I can. I got down there about a half-hour after the show opened - 10:30AM, which is pretty impressive for Sunday morning and a two-hour drive to get there - and the place was swarming. I had to wander and just squeeze in where I could for a while, but things eventually calmed down and the scene became much more pleasant.

I spent about four hours there, and was able to dig through everything I felt the need to. Here's some of the stuff I picked up, starting with the 7"s:

Heavens to Betsy/Bratmobile - "My Secret"/"Cool Schmool" 7" (1992)

This might be the most Riot-Grrrl-y record I own. No, this is definitely the most Riot-Grrrl-y record I own. Not only does it have the classic magic-marker-on-the-midriff motif, but it even has info on how to join the Riot Grrrl movement on the back. It's on K Records but had the catalog # "PUNK 1," which I can't make any sense of. Anyway, this is classic 90's K-rock: both tracks sound like they were recorded on handheld cassette recorder, but any issues with sound quality are made up for in diehard conviction. I think. Heavens to Betsy was Corin Tucker's first band, and she sounds deeper-voiced on their jam. Still plenty high, but not bordering on shrill. So there's a fun little tidbit for you.

Archers of Loaf - The Results After the Loafs Revenge 7" (1994)

I bought my first Archers 7" at Amoeba last year, and haven't seen any others since. So, I was excited to see this post-Icky Mettle/pre-Vee Vee single in a little box marked "alternative." The two tracks here are "What Did You Expect?" and "Ethel Merman," and they are both sufficiently sweet. I think they were both included on the deluxe reissue of Icky Mettle last year, but I have yet to buy that, so I had never actually heard these song before. They're not quite as rough as the Icky stuff, but they're cutting it close. Merge label.

Unwound/Steel Pole Bath Tub - "Seen Not Heard"/"Tokyo" 7" (1996)

If anyone knows the story on this record, please let me know. I've spent enough time checking out the Discogs entries for both of these bands that I instantly recognized the cover of this thing (it also helped that the dude who was selling it had written "UNWOUND" in red marker on the protective sleeve), but if I didn't know what this was, I don't know how I would have figured it out. There is no info on the sleeve other than the Honey Bear Records logo and address, and the record itself has two blank white labels. Bold move. The Steel Pole Bath Tub song on this thing is six minutes of pure noise-rock brutality. It's awesome.

Sprinkler - "Marble" 7" (1992)

I picked this up for a buck and the guy who sold it to me was happy to get rid of it because he said he had "a shelf full of them." Mine is hand-numbered "2841," so I can't say I'm surprised. Not that Sprinkler wasn't a popular band, but even if they knocked out 3,000 of these, that might have been a little ambitious. According to Discogs, this (along with their full-length More Boy, Less Friend and the "Peerless" 7") completes the Sprinkler discography for me. Hoping that maybe there's some more stuff out there that they don't have listed. The B-side of this is "Landlord," and though I'm almost positive it's the same version from their sole LP, I'm not quite sure. But I bet it is.

Calamity Jane/Rockin' Rod and the Strychnines - "Strychnine"/"(Sweet) Lady Jane" 7" (1990)

Not exactly sure of the date on this one, but judging by Calamity's three-lady lineup and the way they're dressed, I'm guessing this is early stuff. I'd never heard of Rockin' Rod and the Strychnines, and I'm not sure if the title of the Calamity Jane track is pure coincidence or a heady joke. I really can't figure out much about this record. It's on RRS records, and these are both cover songs. "Strychnine" is by The Sonics and "(Sweet) Lady Jane" is by the Rolling Stones. I'm just buying any and all Calamity Jane records I see. Look out.

And now we move to the 12" records.

Dr. Dre - "Dre Day" 12" (1992)

It is an absolute atrocity that I haven't owned this until now. I really should have been rocking this 20 years ago, because it would have blown the back of my skull out. Yeah, it's got the LP and radio versions of "Dre Day" (or "Fuck wit Dre Day (And Everybody's Celebratin')," as it should be known), but the real gems here are the 12-minute "Puffin' on Blunts and Drankin' Tanqueray," which features insane verses from both Daz and Kurupt, and "One Eight Seven," which seems to use the same beat as "Deep Cover" but features different raps from Dre and Snoop. There's also a ten-minute "Extended Club Mix" of "Dre Day" to top it all off. Swizzity 12" single.

Sonic Youth - EVOL (1986)

I've been wanting to pick up a copy of this for a long-ass time, but I've just never pulled the trigger on it. I finally found an original Blast First copy in almost-new condition, and when I asked the dealer if she'd knock five bucks off and she accepted, the deal was done. I'm not a hardcore Sonic Youth collector, but only because I know it'll bankrupt me if I go down that road. I would, however, at least like to own original copies of all their studio albums, and I think that's realistic. This brings me one step closer. Did this really come out 26 years ago? Jesus.

Pavement - Crooked Rain Crooked Rain (1994)

This was the lone Pavement album that I didn't yet own on vinyl, so I was excited to find it. I knew it wasn't the UK version with the bonus 7", but I didn't really care until I later realized that there's supposed to be an insert in this version and it's not there. So, it's maybe not the most legit copy, but the price was right. It's in great shape and it is an original copy, so yes, I'm whining just to hear myself. It's not that I'm not happy with it, but if I were to come across a more complete copy, I might snatch it up and replace this one with it. That's all I'm saying.

All right. That's it for this round. But I've still got more of my haul to blab about, so look for that soon.

Friday, February 3, 2012

January Record Shopping in Orange County.

During my past trips to Los Angeles for work, I'd stayed/worked in a hotel in the heart of Hollywood, so I never felt the need to hook up any transportation. Amoeba was within walking distance, so I just hoofed it over there and back, taking in the always-exciting happenings on Sunset Blvd. and making a night of it. This time around, as I've mentioned previously, I was staying in Anaheim (right next to the Disneyland part of it), so I knew I'd need to be more mobile if I wanted to hit any record stores.

I figured this out before I went down there, so I arranged a rental car (that my work paid for - boom) and made sure to bring my most recent copy of Record Collector News with me. It's got a sweet map of Southern California record stores in it, and even has them divided up by area. So: Thursday night I went to Amoeba. Friday night I was exhausted, so I stayed in my hotel room with my iPad and my record store map, plotting out the places I was going to go on Saturday night. I figured out a nice little route, loaded the addresses into my phone (along with notes on when each one closed), and set out Saturday night to try to hit six local record shops. This was ambitious, considering I wasn't even leaving Anaheim till five. I knew this. So when I ended up making it to four shops, I still felt pretty good about it.
My first stop was Burger Records in Fullerton, which is housed on the end of a strip mall on what felt like a not-so-busy street. As soon as I stepped into the place, the strip-mall vibe ceased to exist. This place is everything a record store should be: it stunk like either really good pot or really bad B.O.; there were dirty couches on opposite sides of room; there was a band setting up for an in-store performance; and there wasn't a CD in sight. Though there were tons of cassettes. They run a label, so they not only had lots of tapes by their bands, but also all kinds of other old ones. Nice to see that.
I was able to poke around a bit before the band started playing, and even when they did get situated and start their set, I just kept at it. I felt a little awkward because the place is tiny and almost everyone else was just watching them, but I was on a schedule. They were good, though. They're called Part Time, and I think they have a cassette or two out on the Burger label.

I found a lot of cool stuff while I was flipping around - they have a great indie/punk LP section - but I had to exercise some restraint because it was my first stop. So, I only picked up a few things. I also tried to get a sticker to commemorate my visit, but they were all out. Weak. Here's what I bought:

Dickless - "I'm a Man" 12" (1990)

Faithful Stallion Alert readers may recall that I picked up this 7" on green vinyl at last year's Eugene Record Convention (which I'm going to next week, btw), and they may also recall that I've been on a bit of a foreign-issue Sub Pop 12" kick as of late. This one is on the Tupelo label, and has the ol' "Made in United Kingdom" sticker on the back of it. So, it's not German like the other ones I've come across recently, but it's the same idea. The first two tracks are the same as the 7", but it also includes the one-minute scorcher "Miniskirt Mob." Cool find.

Calamity Jane - "Love Song" 7" (1992)

I bought my first Calamity Jane 7" at Amoeba last year, and I think this single was released the year after that one. Getting all chronological in this piece. The B-side is "Believe," and the vinyl on this is a crazy kaleidoscopic mix of red and white that is quite impressive. My Calamity collection grows. This single is on Tim Kerr Records and has a "01557" stamped on the back, but who knows how many that's out of. Representing for the 90's ladies at Burger! I'm a real hero.

My next stop was Mass Media Records in Santa Ana, which isn't the most clearly marked store on the block (as you can see above), but I didn't have any trouble finding it. It's a really cool little shop that has vinyl, shirts, patches and stickers and other punk gear, and even some vintage clothing for the ladies in the back. The dude who runs the place told me they just moved to that location from Costa Mesa, which means nothing to me because I don't understand where that is - let alone where I was - but it sounded like he was happy about it.
They have mostly underground-ish punk stuff, so there weren't a ton of records there that struck my fancy, but I actually found three things that I had been looking for, and all at really reasonable prices. And like I said, the guy who works there was super nice. I asked him for a store sticker and he also said they were out. Orange County record stores: step up your sticker game. Still: if you're in the area and you're looking for some obscure crusty punk, I say go there. It's awesome. Of course, I bucked the system and bought some of the most un-punk records in the place. Check it:

They Might Be Giants - Lincoln (1988)

I have been putting off buying this record on eBay because I already have it on CD, I've heard it a thousand times, and I knew I'd eventually come across it in a record store. Did I think that store would be a punk-rock shop in Santa Ana, CA? I did not. But that's why record shopping rules. This is the German Version on Rough Trade, which is pretty sweet, and it's in really good shape. This is one of those records - kind of like their first one - that's not really rare, but you don't see it in shops very often. Glad I got it. I have their debut and Flood, so this one fills the gap between those two. Very important.

Beck - A Western Harvest Field by Moonlight 10" (1994)

I really didn't expect to find this one in a store, and especially not at this store. There's a true first press of this that was limited to 3,000 copies and includes an original finger painting by Beck and his pals. Those sell for a lot of money. This is not one of those. This is a repress from a year later, but it's still a somewhat tough record to find, so I was excited to find a copy still in its original shrink and in really good shape. This is early Beck, so it's that noisy, Stereopathetic-style stuff that is really awesome. I was never going to shell out a hundred (or more) bucks for the first press of this, so I'm glad I came across the next best thing.

Asspiss - Fuck Off and Die 7" (2010)

This is great. I found out about this band after googling the phrase "asspiss" a few years ago because I think it's hilarious. Then, my brother tells me he scored a copy of this 7" last year, and I had never even told him about the band. I'd been meaning to get my own copy, and while I was in Mass Media, I actually remembered to look for it because they seemed like the kind of shop that might have it. And they did. For a dollar. This thing is on white vinyl, has five songs on it, and also comes with a sticker for the record label, a sticker for the band, an Asspiss stencil, an Asspiss postcard, and an insert with song titles and various propaganda. A buck well spent.

After shoving off from Mass Media, my next stop was TKO Records in Fountain Valley. This place has some CDs, but the focus is vinyl, and it's meticulously arranged and organized. I found a bunch of 30-dollar records that I wanted, including a Sonic Youth 10" for "Bull in the Heather" that was on silver vinyl, but I had to pass a bunch of stuff up. That was rough, but the responsible thing to do.
I struck up a conversation with the guy working behind the counter there, asking him if he had some specific records, and when he said that they sometimes have Fudge Tunnel LPs, I knew I was in the right place. We talked about some other stuff, including Portland and the NAMM conference that I was down there working at, and he told me an awesome story about getting to jam with John Entwistle. I asked him if he had any stickers for the store that I could take home as a memento, and he said they were out. Of course. But, he followed it with "How about a t-shirt?" I was excited. But when I saw the shirt, I became ecstatic:
He said something about it "breaking down the truth about people like us" and I said I would wear it proudly. And I already have. I only ended up getting one record, and I was a little concerned about its condition, so he gave me 10% off. I mean come on. That is fantastic. I've gotta make it back to this place next time I'm in the vicinity. A great experience. Here's the record I bought:

Beck - Mellow Gold (1994)

Can you believe I didn't already have this on vinyl? I've been stalking auctions on eBay for months, but just couldn't bring myself to pay that much for a copy sight unseen. The copy I bought at TKO isn't in the most pristine condition, but the price was reasonable and at least I knew what I was getting into before I laid down the dough. And John (the guy who worked there - yeah, we're on a first-name basis) was nice enough to play it for me before I bought it to make sure it didn't skip. And it didn't. Now I've almost got every Beck album on vinyl. I just need Guero, which won't be hard to track down, and The Information, which will cost me at least $250 and I'll probably never actually buy it.
My final stop of the evening was Vinyl Solution in Huntington Beach, a store that looks like it has been there for years and has no intention of moving. I love places like that, especially when they're filled floor-to-ceiling with records. The dude who runs the place is super friendly, and the store is overfilled and slightly ramshackle, just like any good record store should be.
It's got more of a classic-rock vibe to it than some of the other stores I went to that night, but they did have some rap and hip-hop, and even some metal. I dug through pretty much everything, and didn't really find anything I had to have, but I did come across a bunch of cool shit, and it was a great place to just hang out at 10PM on a Saturday night.
Here's one more picture:
Now that's a record store. I ended up buying an original copy of Dolly Parton's Jolene for my wife, and I got this one for myself:

The Breeders - Head to Toe 10" (1994)

I really hit the 10"s hard on this trip, didn't I? You don't often see Breeders records in stores, so you've got to scoop up the original issues when you see 'em. This copy's a little dinged up, but nothing that I'm going to fret over. I go through phases with this band and I've actually been listening to them a little bit lately, so it doesn't hurt to have this around. Another one that I didn't expect to find considering the store I was in, but again: that's part of the fun.

And that was it for my Saturday night Orange County excursion. There were a few other places I wanted to check out, but it just didn't happen. Hopefully there's a next time.v